Provide home service employees with opportunities to learn and develop to engage them and make them passionate about working for you. Discover how and learn other ways to inspire and retain your workforce.
The Great Resignation and increasingly competitive markets mean it's harder to attract and retain home service contractors than ever. Employees have more choices, so they can be more selective about the company they work for. The idea of a job for life is almost entirely extinct, but without relying on loyalty, how do you retain employees?
The way a home service business owner treats their workforce is directly reflected in how workers treat customers and undertake duties. Delivering the best possible employee experience provides your team with the best chance of giving every client the best customer experience. Keep reading to find out how.
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People Management For Small Business Owners
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is set to grow by 6% over the next decade. However, with an increasingly mobile workforce, finding and maintaining employees is harder than ever. It's crucial that you're able to exceed industry demands for hiring and retaining the best home service workers.
As a small business owner, you're responsible for practically everything. Without an HR department, it's vital that you're tuned into sculpting and enforcing company culture. You also need to be an expert in compiling training and safety programs, in addition to building a company benefits package that delights staff without busting your budget.
Staff retention is important for a number of reasons. First, the process of hiring, onboarding, training, and paying employees is expensive. If high turnover becomes the norm, it's a huge drain on your resources. What's more, loyal, long-term employees deliver a superior customer experience and know your processes and brand better.
Use the following tips to foster a workplace that's conducive to attracting and keeping the best contractors in the business.
How To Engage Construction Employees
If you can't engage and impress employees quickly, new hires might not care enough about a job to stay. In the past, the majority of workers stuck around because they felt obligated. Finding work was harder without the internet, and the world was a more authoritarian place. Bosses rarely shared company goals with employees, and engagement wasn't considered important.
Research shows that employees who feel more involved in a company's vision feel a greater sense of purpose. As such, they work harder, care more about crucial issues such as safety, and are more invested in being top-notch brand ambassadors. Other ways of fostering engagement include:
- Teaching employees new skills
- Holding team meetings and including employees in decision-making discussions
- Actively listening to employees' points of view
- Encouraging team bonding inside and outside of work
- Asking for feedback about site safety and workflow
Home Service Employee Training & Development
Training is one of the most important elements of an employee retention program. As people, we're driven by an ongoing desire to progress and improve, and home service business owners can tap into this to keep the best employees.
By showing your workforce you're invested in their development, you're demonstrating commitment that goes above and beyond. They can use the skills you teach them throughout their lives. In addition, trained employees add value to your company.
More than 55% of employees place training as more important than salary. Below is advice on how to make the most of development for retaining home service staff.
Invest In Leadership Training
First off, if you have any doubts about your own prowess as a people manager and HR-savvy boss, consider getting training yourself. The best managers are firm and focused but supportive and positive and demonstrate the following traits:
- Inclusive and concerned for employees' well-being
- Clear vision and excellent communication
- Collaborative yet decisive
- Confident but humble and not afraid to show vulnerability
- Committed to employee development and success
Exceptional leaders aren't born, they're made. Invest in training the people leading your workforce, and diligently identify team members with the skills to rise up through the ranks. Promoting from within is an excellent way to cultivate loyalty and motivate junior team members.
On-The-Job Training Programs
Some companies see training as a check-box exercise. They might bring employees together annually and employ a third party to conduct training over a day or two. The program might include watching some slides and answering questions on an electronic device.
While this type of training has its merits, it doesn't come close to ongoing on-the-job training. Including learning and growth opportunities in daily operations helps cultivate a culture of learning and maximizes engagement. Use daily briefings, weekly meetings, and open channels of communication to make learning part of everyone's workday.
Use Positive Feedback
The power of positive feedback can't be overstated. Of course, it's crucial that you deliver constructive feedback as and when it's due. However, you should aim to give significantly more encouraging advice than corrective. For the best results, try to deliver approximately six positive comments for every corrective one.
When delivering constructive feedback, be careful about the language you use. Rudeness, lack of consideration for an employee's feelings, and dismissiveness make it harder to get your point across and inspire change.
Offer Cross-Training Opportunities
A crucial element of a culture of learning is cross-training opportunities. If you have a worker who's great at their job, exceeds expectations, and shows an interest in admin or maintenance, consider cross-training them. Learning a new skill is highly valuable to workers, and it could benefit your home service company.
If a contractor can take charge of the maintenance logs or help with end-of-day admin, it takes work off your hands while giving a top performer more responsibility.
Coaching And Mentoring
Top employees want to feel seen and valued. By encouraging supervisory team members to coach and mentor staff, you go a step further to promote learning culture.
When senior team members provide advice and guidance to junior team members, everyone benefits. The mentor imparts their knowledge, feels a sense of pride, and gets the opportunity to engage with your brand as a leader. On the other hand, the recipient of coaching or mentoring feels supported and invested in by your company and grows as part of your team.
Invest In Onboarding
Keep in mind that the effectiveness of your workforce largely comes down to one thing: hiring. It's crucial that you deliver an excellent training program and provide all the perks and benefits required to attract top talent. However, you should recruit effectively to give yourself a head start.
It's not only vital that you hone your people-reading and hiring skills to ensure you recruit right the first time; you also need to start as you mean to go on with new hires. Establishing expectations and rules during the onboarding process puts workers in the best position to delight your customers.
Let's look at two of the most important elements of onboarding.
Training new team members on company culture is just as important as guiding them through processes and procedures. By letting them know about your core values, code of conduct, expectations, and benefits in the first few days of work, you set employees up for success.
You should have a refined, standardized process that a star manager delivers to each new starter. Onboarding training should be as inspiring and motivating as it is informative. Aim to get new starters as excited as possible about working for you while making your expectations and vision crystal clear.
The review period is the other most important aspect of onboarding. Implement a period of at least 90 days, and use that time to carefully assess a new starter's strengths and weaknesses. Be transparent about your reasoning for the extended review period, and let them know it's a two-way street.
Every individual employee has the power to impact your entire workforce. One worker with a bad attitude can have a knock-on effect on your whole team and could be the difference between a satisfied and an unhappy client.
While it's important to make sure employees have the skills necessary to do the job, you should also keep a close eye on how they represent your brand and interact with teammates. Design a training program with checklists to guide them through the review process. Then, use the data about their strengths and weaknesses to devise an ongoing training program for each successful employee.
Job Site Safety
Your work environment should always be clean and safe for contractors. In fact, the work environment you provide employees with directly impacts how they see your company. If you're perceived as being relaxed when it comes to cleaning and safety, employees will take a more relaxed approach to work.
If you consistently demonstrate your commitment to safety and cleanliness, it'll be reflected in the way your team operates. High standards among leadership lead to high standards among employees.
What's more, you should carry out risk assessments for every task you expect home service employees to carry out. This means you're ready for any eventuality. Not being prepared or decisive in case of an emergency is highly off-putting to employees — and could even put their lives in danger.
All the best workers want to know how they're doing in your eyes so they can identify areas of improvement. Providing feedback for every job is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to your workforce and make them feel valued. Communicate expectations clearly at the beginning of each home service project, and use a simple feedback form to document performance.
Be sure to review all feedback forms on a one-to-one basis and highlight areas of excellence. Talk about areas for improvement constructively and sensitively, and try to minimize negativity as much as possible.
In return, consider regularly sending out anonymous surveys to gather feedback from your workforce. Not only does this give you free advice on how to improve your operation, it makes workers feel valued and listened to. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but the more comfortable you are with receiving feedback, the better equipped your company is to grow.
Home Service Employee Benefits Management
Low salary and poor benefits are two of the most common reasons an employee might leave a job. No matter how much training and development you offer, you need to make sure you pay workers in line with industry standards and your company's level of success.
Pay Employees Fairly
The nature of work is exchanging skills and time in return for money. Employees want to feel their efforts are valued in accordance with their expectations. Conduct plenty of market research before hiring employees to make sure salaries are competitive. Low pay is likely to lead to high turnover of top performers and retention of the least-skilled workers.
Provide Competitive Benefits
In addition to salary, company benefits are an important differentiator for your company. Including some of the following benefits increases your chances of attracting and retaining top employees:
- Employee recognition schemes
- Experiential rewards for excellent work
- Birthday gifts
- Employee rewards and discounts
- Wellness programs
- Health care insurance
- Paid time off
- Performance bonuses
- Paid sick leave
- 401(k) plan, retirement plan, or pension
- Tuition reimbursement
- Gym membership
- Childcare assistance
One of the best ways to unify your workforce, inspire loyalty, and foster retention is by celebrating success together. Throw celebrations for holidays, and have impromptu gatherings following major workforce wins. When your team sees you're willing to share financial success by buying dinner and a round of drinks, they'll want to go the extra mile for your company.
Plus, employees who socialize together have a stronger bond and feel more emotionally involved with one another. This means they're more likely to help each other out or go above and beyond the call of duty when needed.